Enterprise

Violin Memory stock drops 21 percent after IPO, but CEO isn’t fazed

Above: Violin Memory execs today at the New York Stock Exchange.

Image Credit: Violin

Violin Memory saw its stock plunge 21 percent today after its initial public offering. But Don Basile, the chief executive of the a provider of flash memory-based storage software for data centers, said in an interview with VentureBeat that he isn’t spooked by the poor first-day trading performance.

The stock opened at $9 a share and fell 21 percent to $7.11 a share. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company issued 18 million common shares at $9 per share. That is the midpoint of its estimated range of $8 to $10 per share. Trading began today on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VMEM. Violin raised about $162 million at a valuation of around $736 million.

“We are very excited to be a public company with additional capital and investors,” he said.

Over time, Basile said, the company will improve its execution and investors will come to understand it. The transition, he says, is a shift from an “enterprise storage market to an enterprise memory market,” meaning data has to be delivered and stored in the data center in real-time.

The IPO was one of 13 planned for this week in the U.S. and one of three Silicon Valley IPOs.

Basile said that the company will use the money for its continuing sales and marketing expansion. It will also work on new product introductions and stick to its cadence of introducing new software features every quarter or so. He said the company introduced recent additions such as tiering, migration, and data management. The company has 450 employees.

Interestingly, the company’s net loss was $109.1 million in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, up from $44.8 million a year earlier. Revenue grew to $73.8 million from the prior year’s $53.89 million, according to a regulatory filing.Basile said that the company’s “one true competitor” is EMC, which recently bought a couple of Israeli startups for more than $700 million to compete with Violin Memory.

But there are big players in the rest of the market. Cisco paid $415 million for Whiptail, and Western Digital bought Virident for $685 million.

“That’s a recognition that it is a good market,” Basile said.

The company’s products include flash memory arrays, PCIe cards, and Symphony software for data center storage. J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank Securities, and Bofa Merrill Lynch are lead joint-book-running managers. Toshiba, which supplies flash chips for Violin, owns a 14.4 percent stake.

PrivCo, which analyzes private companies, said it is concerned at the rate at which Violin is burning through cash. PrivCo worries that Violin Memory has few customers, an inability to control costs, and it is late to the flash memory party. Despite those risks, PrivCo said Violin has a high valuation of 10 times revenues.Violin still has an impressive track record. It started in 2009 and struck a supplier deal with Toshiba in 2010. Within three years of that, it went public.

“Not all investors are ready to understand the value of the market yet,” Basile said. “We understand that and will focus on execution and shareholder base over time.”

More information:

Violin Memory is a private American company based in Mountain View, California, that designs and manufactures computer data storage products. Violin Memory is pioneering the future of flash memory storage in the enterprise data center.... read more »

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